The Indian black salt that is also known as kala namak is unique among salts for its flavor combined with its striking appearance. If you need to make chaat masala or other Indian dishes that call for it, it will be crucial for an authentic flavor. Similarly, it is a great way to simulate the flavor of egg in vegan dishes. Black salt can be found online, but may not be the easiest spice to find in a local brick and mortar. In other words, you may have to settle for one of the black salt substitutes below if you don’t have any on hand and need some right away.
Your best bet: Himalayan pink salt
Himalayan pink salt comes from the same region where black salt is mined. Himalayan pink salt appears pink due to its mineral impurities. Black salt will also take on a pink appearance when it is ground. Himalayan pink salt can also be used as the raw material to make black salt. The traditional method for converting Himalayan pink salt into black salt involves heating it to very high temperatures in an oven. In addition to being heated, it is also combined with other compounds including harad seeds that provide its sulfur notes and iron sulfide to give it its color.
Himalayan pink salt is not processed in the same way, so it does not have the sulfurous flavor; however, it will have an attractive color along with a similar texture to that of black salt. In addition, it will have the same predominant flavor—that of salt.
You can use Himalayan pink salt as a 1:1 substitute for black salt.
A decent second choice: Hawaiian black salt
As a black sea salt, black Hawaiian lava salt has a lot in common with Indian black salt. Like black salt, Hawaiian black lava salt is volcanic and is processed to give it its black color. It even has a mildly sulfuric aroma to go with its salty flavor, which means that it can provide some of what makes black salt so special. The most common use of Hawaiian black salt is as a finishing salt, where its dark crystals can lend a dramatic appearance to foods.
Like black salt, Hawaiian black lava salt is believed to have a variety of medical benefits, including the ability to remove toxins as a result of the charcoal used to make it.
Use Hawaiian black lava salt as a 1:1 substitute for black salt.
In a pinch: Chaat masala
Chaat masala is a spice blend used to flavor different Indian street foods that are collectively known as chaat. It is tart and flavorful, largely as a result of the mango powder and other spices used to make it. It also has a strong sulfurous quality because traditional blends usually include black salt as well. The fact that it contains black salt can make it an effective alternative to black salt alone in certain recipes. It is important to note that its flavors can make it unsuitable for some applications that require the use of black salt by itself.
Hawaiian red salt is another type of volcanic salt. Red salt gets its color from the volcanic clay used to line Hawaiian salt ponds. Some of that clay is absorbed during the production process.
Kosher salt does not have the sulfurous aroma of black salt, but it does have larger grains that make for an excellent finishing salt.